Christmas Cranberries


Fermented Cranberry Relish


  • 450g fresh cranberries
  • Rind and juice of 1 large (well-scrubbed) orange
  • 80g honey (if you use unpasteurized honey this will help aid fermentation)
  • 1 heaped teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1tsp sea salt


Wash and dry the cranberries.

Place the berries in a food processor and coarsely chop (do not reduce to a puree).

Add the grated ginger, orange zest, orange juice, honey and salt then briefly whizz to combine. Taste and adjust flavourings if necessary.

Pack tightly into a sterile wide-mouth jar and add the cinnamon stick. Cover and leave out at room temperature for 1 day to begin to ferment.

Using a clean spoon (to avoid putting bacteria into your relish), taste the relish. If you are happy with the flavour, you can use it immediately. Alternatively, let it ferment for an additional day or two, to allow it to further develop its flavour.

When you are happy with the flavour, store the jar in the fridge and use within two weeks.

A delicious, fresh accompaniment to the Christmas meal itself and all the leftovers!

Recipe based on an original by .


Chocolates & Wine ….


My lovely friend and colleague, Medical Herbalist Janine Gerhardt, and I are busy planning our Winter Wild Food Adventure and exploring a range of delicious seasonal foods to make and taste to follow our bracing foraging walk in West Molesey.

Chocolate and wine are certainly on the menu, but both are given a herbal twist so that they pack a nutritional punch, as well as taste fabulous.  

Why not join us to find out more:

Winter Spices & Herbal Christmas Presents

Sunday, November 24th, 2019, 1pm-5pm

£65.00 per person

Includes herb walk, afternoon tea, workshop, homemade foods & remedies to take home plus handouts

Places limited to a maximum of 8 people

For more details and to book, please contact:

Belinda Blake on 020 8941 9259 /


Beetroot Falafel


This recipe was adapted from one of the Guardian’s 10 best beetroot recipes and is one of my favourite autumn recipes. The beetroot is an amazing liver-supportive vegetable and, alongside a serving of phytoestrogen-rich hummus, is a delicious way to hep support healthy hormone balance.

Beetroot Falafel


  • 400g beetroot (about 2 medium), peeled and chopped into 1cm cubes
  • 120g sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1cm cubes
  • Olive oil
  • 70g quinoa
  • 30g whole almonds*
  • 1 tsp nigella seeds
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp harissa
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste

*Soaking the almonds overnight in warm, salted water helps to break down lectins and phytic acid which aids digestibility and mineral bioavailability. Drain the almonds, then follow this with a short roasting (15-20 minutes at 75˚C / 160˚F) to further aid digestibility, plus enhance that lovely almond flavour without damaging the delicate oils.


Preheat the oven to 200˚C / 400˚F / gas mark 6.

Toss the beetroot and sweet potatoes in a little olive oil then roast until tender (the sweet potato will cook in about 20 minutes, but the beetroot will take a bit longer).

Boil the quinoa in water (add twice the amount of water to quinoa) for 15 minutes, then drain away any excess water and allow to cool.

Pop the toasted almonds into your food processor and pulse to initially break these into chunks, then add the beetroot, sweet potato, ground cumin, ground coriander, nigella seeds and harissa then whizz until you have a thick paste (alternatively, roughly mash the vegetables by hand if you prefer a bit more texture). Finally, stir in the cooked quinoa and season with sea salt and black pepper. Check flavourings and adjust as necessary.

You may find it helpful to chill the mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes if still warm as this makes it easier to use.

When ready, roll into 12 balls, place on a greased baking tray and bake in the oven for around 15 minutes.

These little falafel are soft and tasty and work well stuffed into a warm pita bread with a blob of hummus, some rocket and fermented veggies for a speedy and colourful lunch …


Sweet Cravings & Hormones Behaving Badly!


As a young woman my life was largely controlled by hormones behaving badly. For two weeks each month I was plagued by anxiety, mood swings, fatigue and cravings, culminating in a week of period pain before returning to my ‘normal’ self for a short interlude, before it all kicked-off again.

I was in my mid-twenties before I was finally diagnosed with endometriosis, which helped to explain my crazy symptoms, however it was nutritional therapy which finally allowed me to take control of my life again.

If you would like to learn more about how your diet and lifestyle affect your hormones and sample simple, delicious strategies to help ‘tame’ your hormones and reclaim your life, please join me at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in Richmond:

Nutrition to Optimise Women’s Health – Saturday 26th October 2019, 10am – 4:30pm

PS – chocolate is definitely on the menu!


For more information, or to book: 

Winter Spices & Herbal Christmas Presents


Winter Spices & Herbal Christmas Presents

Sunday, November 24th 2019, 1pm-5pm

You are invited to join myself and medical herbalist Janine Gerhardt in our preparations for Christmas and the winter months ahead, in our festive workshop.

We start the afternoon with a bracing foraging walk, after which we will return to the warmth of the kitchen to enjoy an afternoon tea packed full of seasonal spice and then embark upon our wild food and herb workshop, making our own bespoke Christmas gifts and treats to take home.

Amongst other things, we will be making Janine’s delicious herbal chocolates, full of Christmas spice; fermented cranberry relish; your own personal bath-salts recipe; a fragrant body scrub and a little tipple to enjoy with your Christmas lunch…

£65.00 per person

Includes herb walk, afternoon tea, workshop, homemade foods & remedies to take home plus handouts

Places limited to a maximum of 8 people

Our December 1st workshop is already booked up, so please do contact me asap if you are interested in coming along on the 24th November.

For more details and to book, please contact:

Belinda Blake on 020 8941 9259 /



Hedgerow Jelly


During our fabulous autumn herb walk this month, we gathered enough haws, rose hips, sloes, crab apples, blackberries and wild pears to make a delicious hedgerow jelly.

This amber-coloured, fruity jelly is delicious served with cold meat and cheese, can be added to enrich gravies and casseroles, or is just lovely simply spread on a piece of good quality bread!

Hedgerow Jelly

Adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s recipe


 1kg crab apples or pears, or cooking apples, washed and cut into chunks (no need to peel or core them)
1kg blackberries, rosehips, haws, sloes, elderberries or rowan berries (or whatever edible berries you find on your forage)
Granulated sugar


Put the apples and berries into a preserving pan. Add enough water to just cover the fruit, then bring to a simmer, and leave to cook gently until the fruit is very soft, stirring occasionally. Pour into a sterilized jelly bag and leave to drip overnight.

When ready to make the jelly, wash your jam jars in hot soapy water, rinse well, then leave to dry and keep warm in the oven (140C/120C fan/gas 1). If you are using kilner jars, do not put the rubber seals in the oven, but instead sterilise these by putting them in boiling water.

Put a saucer into the fridge to chill.

Measure the juice and transfer to a cleaned preserving pan. For every 600ml juice, add 450g sugar. Bring slowly to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then bring up to a rolling boil and boil hard for eight minutes.

Now start testing for setting point. Turn off the heat, use a teaspoon to drip a little jelly on to the cold saucer and return to the fridge for a couple of minutes. Push the jelly with your fingertip: if it has formed a significant skin that wrinkles when it is pushed, then it has reached setting point. If not, turn the heat back on and boil for two to three minutes more, then test again.

Once setting point is reached, any ‘scum’ on the top of the jelly can be carefully skimmed off, but do avoid stirring the jelly now, as this may cause sugar crystals to form.

Pour the hot jelly into the hot, sterilised jars and seal at once. Leave to cool, label and store in a cool, dark place. Use within a year and refrigerate after opening.


Nutrition to Optimise Digestive Health


food on white background

Photo by Pixabay on

Do you suffer from digestive problems?  Perhaps you experience acid reflux, bloating, constipation or IBS-type symptoms?

Have you been advised to avoid wheat? gluten? dairy? caffeine? sugar? fibre?  All are potentially useful suggestions, but do you know what you actually can eat?

In my Nutrition to Optimise Digestive Health workshop, we will explore the role that food plays in supporting good digestive health. We will discuss why nutritional therapy is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and provide strategies to help you better understand your own (or your client’s) digestive symptoms. The day is packed full of delicious recipes to sample and the aim is that you will leave feeling much better informed, inspired and armed with lots of great ideas to try out at home.

28th September 2019 – Fabulous Foods for Digestive Health

For more information or to book, please contact The Institute for Optimum Nutrition